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Taxi is about an average French bloke called Daniel (Samy Naceri). He owns a supercharged taxi that can go at blazing speeds and outrun anything the police can through at him. His girlfriend is the daughter of General Bertineau, and her father often uses Daniel’s expert driving to get him places when his usual chauffeur is tied up. Additionally his mate Émilien (Frédéric Diefenthal) works for the police and often blackmails Daniel into helping him track down and capture big-time criminals.

Taxi 3
Movie
In this third instalment we see a gang of rollerblading bad guys after a masked man through populated streets of Marseilles. After a good few minutes he seems to get away by manoeuvring in front of obstacles of various descriptions and thwarting their attempts to catch up. He ends up at the waterfront, takes off his mask and low-and-behold it’s a French speaking Sylvester Stallone. His character looks up and sees Daniel waiting in his taxi. After offering Daniel a big wad of cash he jumps in with orders to quickly take him to the airport. Not realising who Daniel is, he’s pleasantly surprised to be whipped away at high speed. On arrival Sly is whisked up on a helicopter winch and the James Bond piss-take credits roll.

The rest of the movie is your standard Taxi formula. A new crime syndicate has moved in and have the local police baffled. In the case of this movie, it is the Santa Claus Gang who have a tendency of doing in banks. It is up to Daniel and Émilien to do the impossible and succeed where the entire police force alone has failed. They have to track down the gang and arrest them. To complicate things further, both Daniel and Émilien’s girlfriends are pregnant, and Lilly (Marion Cotillard) is annoyed with Daniel again and this time wants him to choose between her and his car.

Luc Besson obviously decided to write this movie with comedy in mind. So much so that it would seem at the expense of the action sequences and stunts. Unfortunately it’s those very action sequences that made the two previous movies so popular. As a result there aren’t that many chase sequences involving Daniel and his Taxi, and towards the end they totally change location to the snow covered Swiss countryside just to show us - it would appear - the car pursuing people on snow. It would be nice to see Luc going back to directing again, as much of his best work was as a writer/director.

Taxi 3
Don’t get me wrong, the movie is funny, maybe a little crude but it nowhere near matches the style and excitement of Taxi and Taxi 2. This is also more of a character driven movie where we find out a little more about the people that know the protagonists.

One other subject more related to the disc than the movie is the subtitles. This being a Korean disc of a French movie, English subtitles are mandatory for those of us that lack the multi-lingual skills. It should be noted that the English subtitles aren’t very accurate, even I could tell that what was appearing on the screen wasn’t at times even close to what they were saying. So it’s not an exact translation.

Video
Although stated on the box as a 2.35:1 transfer, it isn’t. Taxi 3 is presented in a perfect 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer that is colourful and vibrant, leaning towards a warmer feel. Blacks are represented well. The transfer is detailed and suffers from no obvious processing artefacts. If you look very closely and carefully there’s a slight compression side effects on the background – note this is no where near as bad as it was on the region 1 copy of Signs (for example).

There are quite a few action sequences and the video quality never falters in these; towards the end when we see a white car driving through snow from great distance the car is always visible.

Taxi 3
Audio
Audio tracks provided are French only and are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. The Dolby track is perfectly suitable, but given the choice you should opt for the DTS as it is far more enveloping, vigorous and essentially louder. When switching between the two I was able to hear music more precisely from the DTS.

Taxi 3 is mainly an action orientated movie and aggressively uses the rears – particularly in the chase sequences. The soundtrack is of a modern style making use of bass in particular.

Extras
It’s a Korean disc, so the extras are Korean; unfortunately they aren’t available in English. This is unfortunate but at the same time, the only really interesting extras don’t actually require an understanding of French or Korean.

The Korean-only extras include: Cast & Staff, Synopsis and Production notes. These features look pretty detailed, but I am sure you can get most of it from imdb.com anyway.

Making of Taxi 3 is a behind the scenes title that goes on for several minutes. There’s very little talking, all of that being the actors reading from their lines. Instead we are treated to one of the tracks from the movie whilst a series of sequences are played showing how a lot of the stunts were carried out and filmed, and the techniques they used to film the actors in the vehicles. This is a nice extra considering I was expecting very little in this department when purchasing the disc.

Finally there’s the trailer. Again, it is dominated by the soundtrack (Misirlou in this case) so there’s no need to understand French or Korean to appreciate it.

Taxi 3
Overall
If you’ve got Taxi and Taxi 2, then you’ll have already made your mind up that you are getting this movie. What you may be wondering is, if this version is going to stand the time or will a better version be released later. Apart from the odd weirdness from the subtitles, I consider this DVD to be a good quality release. Nothing stands out as being bad in the video and audio stakes; in fact they are darn good. About the only other point is there aren’t that many extras included and those that are in Korean. Of course a better version will be released somewhere, though I doubt the UK version will be up to much. The two previous films are available in the UK for bargain basement price on non-anamorphic transfers and burnt on subtitles.

For those that haven’t seen any for the Taxi movies, I would suggest you start with Taxi and then if you like that try Taxi 2 before even going near this one. Taxi 3 is unfortunately not on the same level as its predecessors.


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